Coen Ashton on the water with mum Dawn and dad Mark.
Coen Ashton on the water with mum Dawn and dad Mark. Jocelyn Watts

Coen's unstoppable heart

COEN Ashton needs a double lung transplant any time very soon but this 13-year-old kid’s big unstoppable heart is set to carry him 2000 kilometres along the Murray so he can save 1000 lives.

Maryborough’s Coen has cystic fibrosis and insulin-dependent diabetes.

He lives on a knife-edge.

His whole life has been a daily fight to survive under unimaginable twice-daily treatments and months of agonising hospitalisation.

Coen’s mum and dad, Dawn and Mark, have devoted their lives to keeping their son alive. His little brother Kai, now five, is part of that hour-by-hour struggle to fulfil Coen’s dreams – but largely for others; people and animals.

In February this bright kid with the invincible determination got the green light to go on to the national organ transplant list in the quest to get two donated lungs in a Melbourne hospital.

“But I wanted first to save other lives,” Coen said yesterday. “While I can.

“I thought I’d maybe ride a camel from Cairns to Brisbane or even Adelaide to Brisbane.

“Mum and Dad kind of said hang on a minute. So Dad said, ‘Why not jet ski?’, because I love jet skiing anyway.

“I said ‘OK, but I want to jet ski Australia’s longest river and I will do that to convince 1000 people to add their names to the Organ Donor Register.”

Dawn and Mark have set aside six weeks, starting December 1 at Yarrawonga and finishing at Goolwa.

“We’re raising what we can,” Dawn said, “because this operation will be on a tight budget, basically what we can afford. Coen will also need 40 minutes of physio twice a day and four nebulisers a day along the way, but this is his dream, his goal and we will support him every inch of the way. He just wants to save lives.”

Medicare has supplied the 1000 forms for donors to fill out and they need to send those forms direct to Maryborough Fitness Health and Bodyworks at 175 Bazaar Street or to P for Pets, where Coen has sometimes helped out with the animals, in the same street.

Raffle tickets are also available at the gym with a 12-month membership as the prize.

The biggest financial challenge for Coen is to find up to $4000 to pay for the fuel for his jet ski and for his parents travelling on a donated pontoon boat, which will need a 90hp motor.

“I’ve called the campaign MurrayCODD, for Coen’s Organ Donor Drive.

“And I’ll do this because I’m going to be OK to do it. Today I went jet ski practising for 10 minutes and only coughed for five minutes after.”

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